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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024

 
     
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

   
   
 
Changeable Lizard
   
   

Fig 1
 

Fig 2
 

Fig 3
 

Fig 4


Fig 5


 
 

 

Family : AGAMIDAE
Species : Calotes versicolor
Size (snout to vent) :10 cm
Size (total length) : 37 cm

This widespread lizard can easily be found in parks and gardens, where it feeds on insects and other prey. Its colour ranges from brownish-buff to greyish, and in the breeding season the throat of the male becomes red and black, as in the photo at left. The species is identified by the short crest above the neck, the presence of small spines above the tympanum and by the lack of a shoulder fold. The male has swollen cheeks.

Commonly found amongst low shrubs and bushes, it will also scamper up tree trunks to avoid being detected. Like many agamids it lays its eggs in a hole in the ground.

The species ranges from Iran to India, and from southern China down to Thailand. In Singapore it is now well established as a non-native; it appears to have out-competed the native Green Crested Lizard Bronchocela cristatella, which now has a restricted range in the country.


Fig 1 : Male in non-breeding colour, Singapore.

Figs 2 and 3 : Male examples in typical breeding colours, with orange head and anterior part of body, and black marking on the throat. Singapore.

Fig 4 : Female with yellowish-brown colour, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Fig 5 : Example from Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : H1, H2